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Planning With Purpose: Preparing Your Finances For The Future

Scott Stooksbury 

Recently, I received a hand-written letter in the mail — this has never happened in my 23 years as an investment advisor. The person wrote a five-page letter explaining that his wife had to be put in a personal care facility because of early stage Alzheimer’s disease. She was a teacher, and he worked for the federal government for 35 years before retirement.

In the letter, he explained that they owned two farms and a home and were participating in the stock market through various instruments alongside other assets. He wanted a plan developed by our elder law attorney and myself to know if there are any government benefits available to them that they aren’t taking advantage of.

At 78 years old, they don’t have long-term care insurance, so they cover the monthly fees for the personal care facility out-of-pocket and are running a deficit between their monthly income and care fees. They haven’t done any pre-planning and are now in crisis mode.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this story.

According to a recent study, 42% of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents, such as a will or living trust.[1] For those with children under the age of 18, the figure is even lower, with just 36% having an end-of-life plan in place.

The same study also asked respondents whether or not they have a health care power of attorney, which appoints a specific individual to make medical decisions for you if you’re incapable of doing so. A health care power of attorney is more common than a will or living trust, with roughly 53% of U.S. adults having granted someone this legal authorization.

I’ve met with several people who haven’t taken the time to draw up a will or power of attorney — it’s an oversight that can be detrimental to your beneficiaries at such a sensitive time. We even learned after Prince’s death in 2016 that he didn’t have a will in place. No one, regardless of their portfolio, is immune from the effects that a lack of legacy planning can have; it’s an absolute must in today’s legal environment.

What have you always dreamed of doing in retirement? Maybe you want to travel, move closer to family, buy a vacation home, retire debt-free — the possibilities are endless. The important thing here is to create those goals to give your portfolio a purpose. Once you have these goals in mind, you can assign your assets to help meet these goals in retirement.

Assess your portfolio.

How’s your portfolio doing? How much debt do you still owe? What’s your overall net worth? Are you positioned for more aggressive or conservative growth?

Doing a simple self-assessment of your portfolio can help you create a plan to move toward your retirement goals. Knowing your outstanding debts can allow you to start to budget in a way to prepare your portfolio for this retirement you’re dreaming of.

After identifying your goals and current strategies, a financial professional can help create a comprehensive plan that can protect your assets. This plan will reflect your risk tolerance and work in conjunction with your financial and estate planning goals.

43% of the American population doesn’t have an estate plan.[2] Of that group of Americans, 37% haven’t addressed the issue because they don’t believe they have sufficient assets to warrant an estate plan, while 29% said they are not wealthy enough to even consider it.

Unfortunately, many Americans have limited knowledge and experience, hindering them from pursuing added financial freedom — less than 2/3 feel they are putting enough money back for a comfortable retirement.[3] Thankfully, this can be an easy fix with a few simple steps.

What are your financial goals?

Many of us make goals throughout life. From career aspirations to personal endeavors, we like to motivate ourselves. The same principle should apply to your finances.

This content was brought to you by Impact PartnersVoice. Investment advisory services offered through Virtue Capital Managements, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. Insurance and annuities offered through Synergy Wealth Management Inc, GA Insurance License #121489. DT5049-0919

Scott Stooksbury is the founder of Synergy Wealth Management Inc., a full-service financial planning firm that provides tailored wealth management, legacy planning, and retirement income solutions. Before starting Synergy 12 years ago, Scott worked as an investment banker with two Fortune 100 firms. He has been appeared on CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC, has won numerous industry awards, and is a past board member of KBA and Rotary International. Scott and his wife, Jill, enjoy traveling and spending time with their four children Luke, Chandler, Leia and Chris.


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Scott Stooksbury

Phone (678) 778-5331

Investment advisory services offered through Virtue Capitol Management, a SEC-Registered Investment Advisor.  Virtue Capitol Management does not provide legal or tax advice.  Investment Advisor Representatives of Virtue Capitol Management may only conduct business with residents of the states and jurisdictions in which they are properly registered or exempt from registration requirements.    Insurance and annuity products are sold separately through Synergy Wealth Management.  Securities transactions for Virtue Capitol Management clients are placed through Trust Company of America, TD Ameritrade and Jefferson National Life Insurance Com